How to visit Kohunlich Mayan Ruins

Kohunlich Mayan Ruins was an extraordinary surprise when I visited the region, and it still remains one of my favorite archeological sites. Probably because it is so off the beaten path and particularly more isolated than the others.

During my visit, I found myself alone in the middle of the jungle before I bumped into a group of nuns visiting.

The beautiful city found its apogee from the 16th to the 13th century AD and the architecture of the site reveals its connection with the city of Rio Bec in the south of the Campeche region and the Peten region which is now Guatemala and Belize.

The name Kohunlich is not the original, which is unknown, and it has been recently assigned, meaning ridge of Cocoon.

I believe it’s one of the most underrated among the Mayan Ruins of Mexico.

From the top of the Templo de Mascarones (Figurehead) – I always love to sit on top of a temple and look at the green-carpeted horizon.

The discovered remains are very different from the original ones as they must have been covered with stucco and painted predominantly in red.

27 steps

Built around 500AD the temple of the Figureheads (Mascarones) is one of the oldest buildings on the site.

The figureheads serve as ornaments but have a very important religious meaning as they look toward the sunset direction and show the members of the ruling lineage of Kohunlich represented in the form of a sun face (Kinich Ahou), one of the most important deities of the Mayan world.

27 steps

The mild natural elevation takes to a large residential complex whose  elegant interior arrangements suggest that it was inhabited by a high hierarchical level in the city between 600 and 1200 ad. ( SOURCE: INHA)

The most significant peculiarity of this site is the presence of an artificial irrigation system for channeling rain water. What has been brought to light of the huge city is only a minimal part and it consist of residential areas, administrative and religious.


How to get there

It’s located about 65km from Bacalar on Route 186. I always suggest renting a car to visit these remote areas because you would be more comfortable and free to travel anywhere at any time.

However, if you don’t feel like driving, you can rely on public transportation to Xpujil. From there you can find a taxi to Kohunlich.

COST 50 mxn (3 usd)

OPENING  TIME from 8 am to 5 pm.

RESTROOMS- always located at the entrance only.

MAPyou can check out the map here.

WHAT TO BRING – Always remember to dress light and comfortable with closed shoes like sneakers or, even better, hiking boots. Mosquito repellent, sun screen, and ALWAYS remember to bring water with you since they don’t sell it at the entrance. It is very important to walk with water in any case, but especially when you visit these sites, as it can get very hot.

For more practical information on traveling in Mexico, you can check here.

GUIDES – At the time I was there there were no available guides, so if you like to have one walking with you, I would suggest you ask the pro natura office the day before so that they can arrange it for you.


The only resort close to the site is the amazing The Explorean Kohunlich, a luxury all-inclusive property halfway from the main road and the site entrance with exceptional exclusive service, tranquillity, and a lovely pool overlooking the thick jungle where the elegant bungalows are scattered around.

The hotel organizes different excursions within the area as well. To make your reservation or check out the available deals you can follow this link. 

Otherwise, you can stay at a little property located on the main road right before the turn, modest but new and with elegant finishes.

Even if you are a little sophisticated but don’t feel like spending a fortune you will find peace of mind there.

Xpujil town

If you wish to stay in Xpujil you can check out some options here. You can also keep in mind that in Xpujil there are many modest hotel options that don’t work with booking companies and don’t even have a webpage.

You can just get there and check them out, you will find them on the road. I was staying at Hotel Becan right beside the Bus station in Xpujil and for 350 pesos a night it was really great, very clean, new and comfortable.